SAINT DON BOSCO - A VISIONARY AND FRIEND OF THE YOUTH
Nestled in the folds of the Alps, in the northern province of Italy, the tiny hamlet of Becchi rejoiced! Another son was born to Francesco Bosco and Margherita Bosco on August 16, 1815. This baby was given the name John Melchior Bosco – later to be renowned as ‘Don Bosco, Friend Of The Youth’.
At a tender age of two, John lost his father to pneumonia. His young mother Margherita, devoted herself to the family. She supported the ideologies of her son which were instrumental in his formation and personality. Yet, his mother’s words at the wake: “You have no father now” left a deep and life-long void in the heart of little John.
“I will always make time for youngsters” claimed young John when his local church priest ignored his greetings. A deeply saddened boy said to his mother then, “When I become a priest, I will be different.”
A visionary who later along with his mother took many orphans under his shelter braving all odds. In his own words, “Closeness leads to affection, and affection brings confidence. It is this that opens hearts.”
FRIEND OF THE YOUTH:
Today, Father Don Bosco is revered as ‘Friend of the Youth’ who pioneered an educational system based on the principles of Reason, Religion and Kindness, which continues to inspire many educators worldwide.
According to him, an educator is one who is committed to civic, moral and intellectual education for pupils. His belief that every educator must always speak to the pupil in the language of the heart resulted in his opening boarding schools and trade schools providing the youth with recreational facilities, religious instruction, along with strong academic and professional training.
Father Don Bosco advocated the novel concept of the educator’s “friendly presence” among the youngsters. Generations of young people of different cultures and creeds have experienced the benevolent effects of this wise and understanding approach laid by Father Bosco.
Don Bosco is admired as an educator par excellence, a modern-day saint, an apostle of love!